Tour of the Mournes 2015 Review

Rathfriland MCThe 2015 Northern Ireland Navigation Rally Championship kicked off in fine style with the Tour of the Mournes Rally on Friday 6th February. The previous 2 Tour of the Mournes were the victim of severe weather conditions; the 2013 event was cancelled due to snowy conditions and last year’s event had to be cut short due to flash floods, but the dry clear conditions on Friday night were almost perfect.

At the end of the 70 mile route it was Leslie and Gareth Hawe who emerged the winners after a tense battle with Ciaran and Rachel Carey. The Carey’s had held the advantage up until the fifth test but lost some time near the end of the section to hand the advantage to the Hawe’s.

Benny Grainger and David Howard were also in the mix for the victory early on but an early arrival at one of the checkpoints midway through the event ensured that they finished on equal penalties to the Carey’s and had to settle for third once the ‘furthest clean’ rule was applied.

In the Semi expert class, John Henderson and Clifford Auld had an untroubled run to class honours while John Boyle and James Woods took the top spot in the Novice class.

Paul Blair won the Beginners section of the event alongside last year’s RMC Targa winning co-driver Olwen Blair in their Vauxhall Nova. Billy Strain and Robert Hall finished runners up in class.

1. Leslie Hawe / Gareth Hawe- Seat Leon – 22 Penalties
2. Ciaran Carey /Rachel Carey – Vauxhall Nova – 24 penalties
3. Benny Grainger / David Howard – Seat Ibiza – 24 penalties
4. Clive Latimer / David McIlroy – Seat Ibiza – 50 penalties

Class 2 winners:
John Henderson / Clifford Auld – Toyota Starlet

Class 3 winners:
John Boyle / James Woods – Ford Focus

Class 4 winners:
Paul Blair / Olwen Blair – Vauxhall Nova

A full stet of final results are available at